Gor­don County Agri­cul­ture Up­date

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

ar­ti­cle on the Cal­houn Heifer Eval­u­a­tion and Re­pro­duc­tive De­vel­op­ment pro­gram. This col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort that runs from De­cem­ber to May an­nu­ally con­cluded last week with the bred heifer sale. The sale av­er­aged $ 1747 with 108 heifers go­ing through the sale ring in a live auc­tion. I think that is a solid sale av­er­age with the cur­rent mar­ket. The sale is a mar­ket­ing tool for con­sign­ers, but do not for­get the ed­u­ca­tional data col­lected. Pro­duc­ers in an eval­u­a­tion process ob­tain data on their re­place­ment heifers that would be hard for them to do at home. The re­place­ment heifers for a cat­tle pro­ducer are that next gen­er­a­tion of cows for the herd so you need to make sure you are keep­ing the right kind of heifers.

The weather can be caus­ing havoc in the veg­etable gar­den. The cur­rent rain­fall takes me back to the story of Goldilocks and the three bears where the por­ridge was ei­ther too hot, too cold and fi­nally was just right. If you re­mem­ber, in 2016 we were en­ter­ing into a his­toric drought and 2017 was much bet­ter on mois­ture. Many folks would tell you in 2018, we are too wet. I am never go­ing to com­plain on get­ting rain­fall be­cause I know at some point this sum­mer, we will get dry and be wish­ing for rain. The rain­fall may be caus­ing you some is­sues in the veg­etable gar­den that you will sim­ply have to deal with for a while. The cur­rent wet soils may limit veg­eta­bles in nu­tri­ent up­take. The soils may be so wet that your roots just can’t take up fer­til­izer or nu­tri­ents in your soils that they nor­mally would.

We are seeing wet con­di­tions in even the best drain­ing soils right now, but a gar­den spot with drainage is­sues in the first place may be very wa­ter logged. In ad­di­tion, you may see more is­sues with fo­liage dis­eases due to the wet con­di­tions. Re­mem­ber that we have a lot of heat and hu­mid­ity in our part of the world. Dis­ease pathogens are al­ready around and when fo­liage stays wet for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time that mois­ture could be the last key in­gre­di­ent to get some dis­eases brew­ing. Nor­mally, I am try­ing to tell folks to use soaker hoses or some sort of drip ir­ri­ga­tion to keep fo­liage dry. You can’t do any­thing about the rain­fall.

This will be my first re­minder for my hay pro­duc­ers on the “Gone HAYwire Chal­lenge.” I am sur­prised on how few hay sam­ples that are sent to the lab for anal­y­sis. I think as live­stock pro­duc­ers we get in the sce­nario that if we have hay bales in the barn, it is good and there is noth­ing to worry about as far as win­ter feed­ing. I fully re­al­ize that many folks still have un­fed hay in the barn from last win­ter. It was a far cry from the drought of 2016 where hay was bought from all over to feed live­stock even in the sum­mer of that drought year. The chal­lenge is pretty sim­ple: do hay sam­pling to see the for­age qual­ity of the hay you are pro­duc­ing. Know­ing things such as To­tal Di­gestible Nu­tri­ents, crude pro­tein or even ni­trate lev­els of your hay can help you make man­age­ment de­ci­sions for the up­com­ing win­ter hay feed­ing sea­son. We even have a hay probe that can be checked out and used by clients to make sam­pling eas­ier.

I would like to give a plug for soil test­ing. We do send a good num­ber of soil sam­ples to the lab. The goal of a soil sam­ple is to take out the guess­work in your fer­til­iz­ing and lim­ing ef­forts for your soil. We can even code the sam­ple based on your ac­tiv­ity from grow­ing roses, to graz­ing live­stock and even grow­ing fruit trees. We even have soil probes that can be checked out. You do need to re­view how to prop­erly take the sam­ples and know the cor­rect sam­pling depth that is de­ter­mined by your ac­tiv­ity on that ground. The big­gest mis­take I see is that many times peo­ple do not sam­ple early enough. We are more acidic in our area so lime can be needed. We like for lime to be mixed with that ground sev­eral months prior to many ac­tiv­i­ties to get that pH higher. Soil sam­pling is $ 9 per sam­ple so a great deal.

Fi­nally, in­sect pres­sure will prob­a­bly build up as we go deeper into the sum­mer. I will try to spend fu­ture ar­ti­cles on some of our out­door pests. I will add to go back and read my ar­ti­cle on pro­tect­ing your­self from ticks. On our Lunch and Learn visit last week to the Ar­row­head Wildlife Man­age­ment Area, the county agent even got two ticks off of him­self while out on the na­ture hike.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact UGA Ex­ten­sion- Gor­don County at 706- 629- 8685 or email gbow­man@ uga. edu.

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